Wednesday, September 13, 2006

All around the clocktower

Yesterday, as I was tootling along after my lunch (organic mushroom pizza), I saw what registered as a blocky stick on the pavement beneath the central campus clock. I usually have my eyes to the ground, and am been pretty damn good at picking out anomalous items (fossils, especially, but not four-leaf clovers - my mother's speciality) even while walking along at a good pace. So in the course of a moment, my brain said: "Stick? NOT STICK!" I backpedaled a few paces and crouched down amid the bustle of undergrads (the horror of it, I can't even express to you).

Not stick, beak.

Over three inches, devilishly pointy (and a bit serated, maybe) as beaks are wont to be, and attached to only the barest few face feathers. No eyes, no skull, just beak and if it were a very tiny plague doctor's know those, right? -
(Do you know from whence came the long, threatening beak? It was where doctors placed what they believed to be a protective posy, so that the air they breathed would be filled with medicinal, rather than putrid scents. Ah, the wisdom of medical science...staggering.)

So, there I was, squatting in the rain, staring at the beak and thinking three things:
1. The Falcons are here.
2. Falcons are often lauded urban additions because they keep the pigeon population in check (not, as I had assumed, because of their soothing shrieks.)
3. Ann Arbor is too sterile for pigeons. To clean, maybe, or perhaps they expulsed the flock years ago for rowdiness. Therefore (I knew this, but it hadn't hit home before), the Falcons are killing other birds...birds that do not breed and infest as pigeons do. Birds that are threatened enough as it is.

Not that I begrudge Perigrine Falcons anything. Anything, they can and should have. I am just wishing really hard that they might start in on the species that truely infests our town: those damn size 00 coeds (they're all wearing their rush shirts, and therefore easier to identify). I know that Falcons can be trained...I'll need that gauntlet and tiny hood to start.